Back to the original thread of the Sun and the Sunflower; let me take off from my today’s run first. I shall post from my earlier notes separately, or, if time not permitting, weave the incidents and thoughts from my missed post runs in my later blogs.
Full moon was at its full radiance, looked fresh even at the fag end of its night duty. There was a nip in the air today. Previous days festoon of flowers had not yet been removed from the Muslim wayside shrine, I moved on after mumbling my silent prayer for a good run. The dairy where my servant help gets our quota of Dhoni’s elixir was setting shop for the day. He waved me on.
Even the entire moon’s brightness could not conquer the forces of darkness on the stretch between KM 1 and 2. There are these self help temples alongside the road which much alike the small self-service darshini’s dotting the state provide soup for the soul without even the priest not coming between the devotee and the god. Well bathed and groomed gent was just about finishing after supplicating the god with incense and perambulations. I moved on as I did not want to eavesdrop on his wish-list for the day. Sales persons were busy working behind closed doors of Reliance Fresh creating order among fruits and vegetables so that the crowd could come and play havoc once the shop is opened for business.
I was feeling good in my legs and crossed the municipal limits without breaking a sweat. I prepared for the climb of KM 4 and 5 while the moon quietly dipped down prepared to call it a night. It seems to be lingering on to make sure that its reliever Sun does come on the appointed hour. The sky was lighting up on the eastern horizon announcing the arrival of the lord of the day. I could hear my carnatic music lover singing in his full throated voice and walking down in his characteristic swagger unmindful of the lorry traffic on the highway. He stopped his rendering to wish me ‘Good morning’ when he passed me, I replied ‘Namaskara’ in my best local rendition.
Yesterday I had met a youngster in track-suit running on the wrong side between KM 5-6. I had picked up a conversation with him and also given him unsolicited advice to run in the face of approaching traffic to avoid being run over. He had told me that he had been running for over a week now and that we would be seeing each other. I eagerly looked ahead to meet him. Not meeting him even after crossing KM 7, I started doubting if I had indeed met him yesterday. Mystery will clear in next few days, was it really a human being or some divine apparition visiting me. I know running is like meditation, but, to meet my maker’s representative so soon!
I will build in the story of Raghavendra and Shaheed here. Raghavendra is a 23 year old boy of the local village who is practicing to run 5 Kilometer in 25 minutes to qualify for the Constables recruitment scheduled next month in Bangalore. He had been observing me running regularly and stopped me a few days back to get tips about running; he was very curious about the liquid I was carrying in the bottle on my run. He was disappointed to be told that it was only plain water and not Druid Getafix’s magic potion. Having gathered my age and that I was not from Army he had satisfied his initial curiosity and meets me at KM 8 to accompany me on the run till his house which takes off from the highway half way between KM 9 and 10. He was wearing shoes on the first day and took basic tips on whether to drink water before a run, reason for pain in the calf etc., yesterday, I had found him at the KM 8 mark barefoot, saying that he is finding it more comfortable to run in his bare feet. I confessed to him that I am also training to go barefoot, but, advised him to check the venue of his test to see if it is safe to run barefoot there. Shaheed his companion is 14 year old and studies in standard 8th. He has a natural style and runs without losing his breath or breaking a sweat. Today after finding out my place of residence and taking me to be a senior government official ventured to ask if I could help him get selected. I told him the story of the RPF guard who used to wish me every day when I went to my office and how he had once reached my house asked if I could help his nephew get selected to a class IV job for which he has qualified the physical test. I gave him a big lecture on why his nephew should not start his life on a wrong foundation and that I would not do anything even if I could help him. After a month, the RPF guard came with his nephew with a box of sweet to say that he has got selected. I asked him, if he regretted for having tried influence and how he would have felt if some person with influence could have snatched his nephew’s honest success. To cut the long story short, Raghavendra was suitably chastised. Today he shared his family background about how his father is a waster and life has looked up after his brother became an LIC agent. I wished him all the best for his preparation for the physical and the written exam to be held 3 months later for qualifiers from the physical test. Shaheed, has 2 younger brothers and a sister and has a diligent father. He is good in studies and runs for fun. I bid them bye after refusing Raghavendra’s offer of a cup of tea at his house. I told him that I will come to his house and take a treat after he clears his exam. On a deeper level, the thought of running flanked by Raghavendra and Shaheed makes you feel good that ‘All is Well’ on the communal harmony front, despite what political propaganda may say.
The moon had now sunk and the sun peeped out on the eastern horizon. It was as if the moon and sun were playing on a giant see-saw and the moon having fallen off the sun was thrown up. The sun looked flushed and perspiring by the very effort of having come out to meet the world. Today the Urdu school’s door was open as if to open it to modern ideas and ward off the accusations of obscurantism. My friends were busy receiving instruction, so no welcoming smile.
I reached the sunflower patch and was depressed to see that the plants with leaves dried and falling stood like old people dressed in rags, uncared for by their wards. More plants had lost their head, as if, they had paid the price of Baba Ramdev’s prescription for possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. But, the patch of young sunflower plants just behind this patch seemed to personify the cycle of birth growth and death and I definitely would not grieve when these older plants fall to the scythe of the farmer in due course. I had reached the half-way mark in one hour 32 minutes.
I have been noticing since last two days that some fun loving tippler had left an empty bottle of foreign liquor standing on the headstone of TTSL OFC. To me it looked like a symbol of Tata’s celebrating the change of guard from Ratan Tata to Mistry!
On the way back, I spied a fully grown patch of chillies, which seemed to have come up without my noticing. The green leaves and red ripe chillies looked like a good sari design in the glinting sun. The scare crow in the chilli plot seemed to say that even the hot chillies have their quota of pests.
The number of vehicle drivers wishing me and some using special sequence of horns to greet has become an interesting side-light to the run. Today, being a Monday, I had my full of wishes from school van drivers and their wards. I completed the run in 3 hours 15 minutes and 10 seconds.